Champions League: Lille overcomes a difficult start to reach the round of 16; Seville, Wolfsburg eliminated

Lille OSC celebrates a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stage after a resounding 3-1 away win over VfL Wolfsburg on Wednesday secured first place in Group G. Red Bull Salzburg, who beat Sevilla for ensure the Spaniards fall in the UEFA Europa League, finished second in the group and will also qualify for the last 16.

Burak Yilmaz, Jonathan David and Angel Gomes wreaked havoc on the Volkswagen Arena as Jonathan Ikone scored two goals in what could prove to be his last continental outing with Les Dogues as the French champions finished an impressive second half of the group stage.

After three games, LOSC had drawn twice and lost once only to find themselves facing total elimination before an unexpected 2-1 win in Sevilla was followed by a 1-0 home win over Salzburg, which paved the way for their conviction. success in Germany.

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Not even a late effort from Renato Steffen could erase the sparkle of a memorable European evening for Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men as they sent Die wolfe packaging. Sevilla, meanwhile, will have the chance to add to their home UEL run with Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan hosting the final of this edition.

“We try to make history every time we play,” David said after the game. “Our strength is our collective.” This was echoed by Ikone who also declared after full time: “we have not given up, there is a real collective strength”.

Lille’s forward march is not just about their ability to reverse their UCL results, as their return to form dates back to November, when that eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions began. Lille have won five times in this streak, including three on the road.

The Mastiffs have also won away at Stade Rennais during this period and although the draws against Angers, SCO and FC Nantes weren’t very appealing, they stopped the rot and a point at AS Monaco was also a respectable booty as The Championship goes.

With just three points between Lille in 11th and OGC Nice in fourth and with David the Canadian champion at the top of the scorers’ standings with 11 goals already this season, it looks like better times are ahead for the defending champions. French.

There is still a delicate financial situation to manage, but with more favorable figures than they were at the same time last year when the president of the Girondins de Bordeaux, Gérard Lopez, was forcibly replaced. Things are starting to become more sustainable again.

It remains to be seen if Ikone is the only major start this winter, with Fiorentina set to sign the Frenchman to a deal that will see training club Paris Saint-Germain benefit from a future transfer clause in their deal. But the likes of Renato Sanches and Sven Botman are also in demand. Ikone alone could now be enough because of the financial windfall to climb to the top of the group, PSG also representing France in the final stages.

For Salzburg, they made history as the first Austrian team to reach the knockout stage while Sevilla know they will be tough to beat as they advance to the Europa League, which they have won. six times.

However, as with Wolfsburg, it is arguably a much needed return to focus on the Bundesliga with Europe and DFB Pokal already gone for this season and the stability required following the turbulent replacement of Mark Van Bommel by Florian Kohfeldt. Group G kept things exciting until the end and delivered the drama we were hoping for from a group that could have seen anyone advance before the final 90 minutes of play.

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